Located in southeast Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, Ann Arbor is many things. It’s a bustling university town, a culinary hotspot, and a tech hub. It’s a cultural melting pot and an urban oasis. It’s also a famous destination for kayakers, canoers and other paddlers thanks, in large part, to the Huron River. The designated National Water Trail winds through the region making Ann Arbor one of the best, most beautiful and easily accessible kayaking destinations in the country.
Where to Kayak near Ann Arbor
The Huron River meanders through Island Lake Recreation Area, Dexter, Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti before spilling into Lake Erie, making Southeast Michigan a kayaker’s haven. But it’s not the only place to put in your paddle in the water near Ann Arbor. Here are a few great kayaking destinations near Ann Arbor we recommend you consider for your next Michigan kayaking adventure.
Ann Arbor, MI
The Huron River is a huge kayaking attraction. It is one of the 18 designated National Water Trails and attracts more than 100,000 visitors every year. The river is 104 miles long with 32 different points of access and more planned. It offers a variety of paddling experiences for all skill levels from rapids at Delhi and Dexter to the calm, placid waters where the river enters Lake Erie.
The third-largest park in Michigan, Waterloo Recreation area encompasses over 21,000 acres of forest, lakes and wetlands. It is home to 11 inland lakes which paddlers can explore as well as rustic, equestrian and modern camping accommodations, cabins/yurts, fishing lakes, nature trails, hiking trails, mountain biking trails, equestrian trails, swimming beaches, several picnic sites and the Gerald Eddy Discovery Center.
Whitmore Lake, MI
For a diverse, beautiful natural area to paddle head to Independence Lake Park. The park has a launch site for canoes, kayaks and motorized boats with ten or less horsepower. You can rent paddle boats and rowboats. There are also hiking and biking trails , the Blue Heron Bay spray park, beach, playgrounds, disc golf and more in the 360-acre park.
Milford Township, Michigan
40 minutes from Ann Arbor, in the township of Milford, you’ll find the 4,400 acres of sprawling wooded hills that surround the beautiful Kent Lake and make up Kensington Metropark. One of the most popular parks in Michigan, it is home to an abundance of wildlife and waterfowl. Although the park offers a multitude of year-round recreational activities from biking and cross-country skiing, the 1,200-acre Kent Lake is a must paddle.
An endless variety of topography and ecosystems make up what is called the Seven Lakes. There’s farmland, rolling hills, rich forests and about 230 acres of water with several miles of shoreline waiting to be paddled. You’ll find the boat launch near the swimming beach. The park offers concessions, restrooms, horseshoe pits, volleyball and a playground. Rowboat, canoe and paddleboat renal is also available for those that don’t bring their own.
Ann Harbor, Michigan Kayak Storage
When you’re not out paddling, make sure you have a great place to store your kayak. Log Kayak Rack offers exquisitely crafted, 100% norther cedar log kayak, canoe and paddleboard storage racks. Our racks are built to last, safely and beautifully storing and displaying kayaks for years to come. They are durable, naturally weather-resistant and can be customized or completely custom built to accommodate any number of boats. They can be wall mounted, dock mounted, buried in the ground and free-standing, and can be shipped to Ann Harbor, Michigan for free. Shop our kayak racks online now or send us a message if you are interested in having us build you a custom kayak storage solution.